Week of July 10

God Knows You and Your Precise Whereabouts

Read: Micah 5-7; Hebrews 7
“And he shall be their peace.”
Micah 5:5a, ESV


The psalmist writes, “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation” (149:4). Micah has turned his focus in chapter five to the siege of Jerusalem and the humiliation of Judah’s king by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-15). We begin to see the first rays of sunlight, however, when he stretches his prophetic vision to the Babylonian exile and the coming of Messiah (5:3)! Who would have ever believed that God was at work in Judah’s darkest hour of humiliation to bring about a glorious victory through Messiah? Let’s examine this famous passage more closely and look for ways to apply it to our own lives.

Understanding the Bible Context

A personal and national history of overlooking moral decay
Unlike natural calamity, where people suffer through no fault of their own, Israel was about to face a national disaster of its own making. The prophet has written that their crimes against humanity had become a stench in God’s nostrils, and He was about to punish His people for their total disregard for human life (2:8; 3:2-3, 9-10; 7:2-6). The king, as God’s ultimate representative, would suffer utter humiliation (cf. 5:2) and would be subjected to the overthrow by Israel’s enemies. Contemporary Christians quite often have a narrow catalogue of moral concerns and live comfortably blind to wider cultural issues. In other words, we often do not associate disregard for the helpless with personal moral decay. The point? God’s people need Him to raise up a Deliverer.
Qualifications for God’s Deliverer
Notice the characteristics of God’s chosen person. First, we should notice God’s geography. He came not from “proud” Jerusalem but hailed from insignificant origins in Bethlehem (5:2; cf. Matthew 2:4-8). David Dockery writes that such a place of origin “represented Israel’s humiliation” (HCBC). The irony is that Bethlehem was not even mentioned in Micah’s list of Judah’s cities of defense, but it has now become a center of pilgrimages from around the world and is universally renowned (Waltke, HCBC). Hmm. I will state this in Ashlock speak: “It ain’t about Washington D.C.” All humor aside, we should be thankful that God’s salvation cannot be tainted with nationalism or politicism.

Secondly, we should absorb the theology. The setting for the birth of the Messiah illustrates a biblical principle that exaltation by God will always be launched from humiliation (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Philippians 2:5-11). I do not know your circumstances today, but I need to tell you that even if you are shrouded in obscurity, God has not forgotten you!

Notice that God makes tiny Bethlehem the launching point for His eternal kingdom. The advance of His way of righteousness began in that humble place and always must begin from within humble hearts. David’s descendent would reign eternally and would mediate God’s blessings to all humankind (2 Samuel 7:16-19; Isaiah 16:5; Jeremiah 33:17; Matthew 1:1; 21:9; Luke 1:32; 6:9; Revelation 22:16; HCBC). A remnant of God’s people would bring salvation to some (5:7, “like dew”) and judgment to others (5:8, “like a lion”; cf. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16; HCBC).

Thirdly, be assured of God’s victory. His Deliverer would be the embodiment of God’s “strength” and “might.” He would communicate these attributes to God’s people and thereby establish their eternal security. Please reread the previous sentence. Culture changes when God-changed citizens, who reflect His nature, influence society. This deliverance was not nationalistic, as these verses state, but would be universal in scope.

We have heard a lifetime of campaign slogans that seek to inspire hope in our nation’s greatness, but make no mistake, as the great hymn states, “our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!” Micah writes that Messiah’s greatness would reach “to the ends of the earth” (5:4). This description, when compared with the universal peace in 4:1-4, confirms that this Ruler will be the one to bring it. Isaiah calls Him the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6; cf. Luke 2:14). Our search for meaning in our otherwise meaningless lives is found in Messiah. Your humility is the key to your eternal destiny filled with joy and peace.

Applying the Passage to Our Lives

Permit me to share again a personal anecdote from my first semester as a seminary student. I was enrolled in what was being hailed as “the world’s largest seminary.” Talk about a grain of sand on a seashore, I was lost in that sea of humanity! I lived in a tiny second-story garage apartment near the seminary. I lived alone, studied alone, and felt all alone! I was miserable. I heard a knock on my door one Saturday morning and, to my utter amazement, I saw the pastor of the Gambrell Street Baptist Church looking in my window! That man had found me and had come to visit me. I sincerely wondered, who did that sort of thing?

Here is the spiritual application. Well, you know, God did that sort of thing in human history (John 1:14). He, in fact, visited you in your obscurity and washed you clean with His love and forgiveness. You are not forgotten. You are forgiven in the Savior. Live in peace, His peace, today. Ahh! But there is more, my friend. Read again the following two sentences that I am repeating from above: “He would communicate these attributes to God’s people and thereby establish their eternal security . . . Culture changes when God-changed citizens, who reflect His nature, influence society.” We see evidence of national moral decay all around us, and Christians are to pour themselves like salt into society (Matthew 5:13; Romans 13).

Reflecting Upon and Discussing the Passage

1. Write down three ways that Jesus will be your peace today—at home, on the job, and in the world.

2. Andrew Murray once wrote, “Humility is the perfect quietness of heart . . . It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around in trouble” (Murray, Humility, 46). Take time at day’s end to shut the door, kneel to your Father, and experience His peace as in a deep sea of calmness. You may be obscure to the world, but you are your Father’s child, and He waits at the door for your return home this day.

3. For Families: This is a wonderful verse to memorize as a family:“And he shall be their peace” (Micah 5:5a). Invite your children to illustrate a poster for your dining room wall that says, “Jesus is our peace” and hang it as a reminder during these long summer days.

Then ask them to make a list of things that your family does, in their view, to bring peace. Your children may have radically different ways that they experience God’s peace within your home. Embrace and commend your children’s expressions and post this list next to your wall sign. Take each item, one by one, and plan to experience these again as a family, seeing the event through your child’s eyes. May you all grow in Christ’s peace together.

May your paths be straight,
Larry C. Ashlock